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Old 07-15-2011, 07:09 AM   #21
Festus2
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NOTE TO MEMBERS:
This thread is now closed to any further suggestions. We will be gathering all of the suggestions to date and will consider them all for inclusion in the sticky tutorial "Which Truck Should I Buy For My RV?". It will take some time to examine all of your recommendations but we hope to have it prepared as soon as we can.
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Old 09-27-2011, 04:27 AM   #22
SteveC7010
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In other forums, this is a very common question so I will just summarize here.

As a general rule of thumb, properly equipped 1/2 ton pickups can be safely used on TT's up to 6,500# GVWR. There are variations, and everybody knows someone who tows a 10K# trailer with an old Chevy S-10, but the bottom line from experienced folks, many of whom learned the hard way is what it is. Even if the 1/2 ton truck will pull the heavier TT, safety and control quickly come into play.

So, if you report a dry weight of 6852, the GVWR is probably around 7,800 or so. This is usually determined by the capacity of the axles used by the manufacturer plus calculated frame strength of the TT.

Those that own trailers in this weight range will all tell you that a 1/2 ton truck is not enough truck for the TT. Many of them started where you are, tried the combination and and found it lacking. Reasons? Broken axles from too much tongue and payload weight. Blown transmissions from pulling excess weight up too many long steep hills. Bent frames, inadequate TV brakes, and more.

As far as what folks carry, they may promise to never carry any liquid in the holding tanks, but real life is different. Some day it is guaranteed to have to travel with full tanks. It is just plain inevitable. Full tanks should be included in any calculations done to match up a TT and TV. Same for food, clothing, and all the other gear that we all seem to carry. (Liquid matters big time! At 8.5 pounds per gallon, my trailer can hold over 1,400# of fresh and dirty water. I believe it would be a disastrous mistake to discount holding tanks when sizing a truck.) If you do travel consistently with empty tanks, but sized the truck to include full tanks, then you have given yourself, your family, and others on the roadways a very nice safety margin.

Another way to look at it is a percentage of safety margin between the TV's capacities and the TT's GVWR and tongue weight. I have heard numbers quoted from 10% up to 35%. There's no perfect answer, but I like 15-20% as a minimum. So if your truck is rated to pull 7,900 and the GVWR of the TT is 7,800# you have less than 1% safety margin. There's nothing extra in case you need it. Remember that TV's lose capability when elevation increases so traveling in the mountains is almost immediately ruled out.

Tongue weight matters too. For proper towing, TT's should have about 12% of their weight on the tongue. A 7,800# GVWR trailer should put about 936# on the tongue, but the number could be a lot higher. What is the rated load capacity of the truck? Well, if you put two average adults plus camping gear (we all toss more stuff in the TV than we should!) and then add up all the weights, you may well be at or over the truck's capabilities. Truck axle ratings matter a lot from this point of view.

Guy came into a forum a couple of years ago and wanted to know if his Jeep Commander would pull a particular trailer. One of the gents did some calculations and quickly determined that the Jeep's rated payload was barely enough to include 4 adults and some luggage. Much as the car was rated to pull the dry weight of the TT, hooking it up and actually traveling with it would likely have broken the axles or springs (or both).
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